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Close counts when it comes to God

A column by Tim Pippus.
Moses, Bible

Moses had a problem. 

After leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, he ended up in the wilderness with a huge group of people who did not care much about God. In fact, they decided to create an idol and worship it instead. Things were going from bad to worse very quickly.

Moses knew that there was only one solution. He approached God and insisted that “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). He was unwilling to move a muscle if God was not close by and leading the way. The only hope he had was to stay near to God.

Fifteen hundred years later, we meet a woman who has a medical condition that has left her ceremonially unclean for 12 years.  She was required to isolate herself and, therefore, she was cut off from her community. 

She could not go to the market or the temple. She was not even allowed to be with her own family because then they would be considered unclean. She had tried every cure she could find, and she had spent all she had under the care of many doctors, but she found no relief.

Then, one day, she heard that Jesus was near and thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed” (Mark 5:29). As it turned out, she was right.  Being close to Jesus allowed her to get her life back.

Thirty years later, a little group of Christians was facing a dilemma. They knew what they believed, but they also knew that worshipping God could cost them their status in the community, their homes, and even their lives.

Paul had a solution for them.  “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). The strength that they needed would be found as they stayed close to God.

You have probably heard that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Well, close counts in spiritual matters as well.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).